In recent years, AMD has been on the rise when it comes to desktop processors, as well as graphics cards. It stepped up on the ladder and turned from a company that sold affordable processors, weaker than Intel’s, into a company that gave us the seriously impressive Ryzen CPUs. They’re just as fast in single-core performance and even faster than Intel’s in multi-threading, while also staying cool and consuming less energy. In the last few years, Intel struggled to keep up with AMD. Although their latest 10th generation Intel Core processors might still be able to compete with AMD’s Zen 2 Ryzen family, they’re long behind the AMD Ryzen 5000 processors built on the Zen 3 architecture. So which processors are better in an Intel vs. AMD standup? Should you buy an AMD Ryzen processor or a 10th Gen Intel Core? Read on and find out:
Both AMD and Intel have capable processors; there’s no question about it. However, when it comes to specs, there are plenty of differences between them. While Intel was almost always first in technological advances in the past, nowadays, the tides have shifted, with AMD taking the lead and finally reaching world dominance with Zen 3.
First of all, AMD has switched to the 7-nanometer manufacturing process for both the Zen 2 and Zen 3 processors. At the same time, Intel is still using the 14-nanometer lithography for the last 10th Generation of its Core processors and will continue to do so for the next 11th Gen Core processors that should be launched sometime in 2021. That leads to a series of benefits for AMD’s Ryzen processors compared to their Intel counterparts.
Because of the smaller manufacturing process, Ryzen CPUs have an increased density of transistors per mm² (a bit more than twice), generate less heat (lower TDP), and require less electricity than similar Intel CPUs.
Intel has a tradition in managing to deliver desktop processors with incredible single-core speeds, and that’s true for the 10th Gen Core lineup as well. Still, because of the smaller manufacturing process, AMD processors reached the same speeds and performance on single-core while also offering more cores and threads than corresponding Intel CPUs.
Furthermore, AMD’s Zen 3 is an even better-optimized architecture, featuring a new core layout and a new cache topology. That makes Ryzen 5000 processors able to deliver higher boost clocks, up to 19% more IPC (instructions per cycle/clock) than Zen 2 processors, and a lower cache latency.
On the same page, when making a CPU comparison, the 7-nm lithography allows AMD to bundle much more cache memory on the Ryzen processors than Intel can. For the most part of the AMD Ryzen lineup, we get 32 and 64 MB of Level 3 cache memory. Only the older Ryzen 5 3500, and the entry-level Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X stop at 16 MB. Intel’s 10th Gen Core processors feel outdated, as they offer only 20 MB of Smart cache memory on the high-end Core i9s. Core i7 CPUs get even less - 16 MB (half of Ryzen 7 CPUs), Core i5 processors come with 12 MB, and on Core i3, you get 8 MB or even as little as 6 MB of cache memory.
In a similar fashion, another thing that makes both the Zen 3 and Zen 2 AMD Ryzen processors stand up from Intel’s Core 10th Gen equivalents is the PCI Express version supported. All these AMD Ryzen processors come with PCI Express 4.0, while Intel is still using PCI Express 3.0. That means a whole lot more bandwidth available on AMD CPUs.
With AMD Ryzen processors, you get the best performance possible from high-end graphics cards that are PCIe 4-compatible, like those from the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 lineup or AMD’s Radeon RX 5000 and 6000 series. AMD Ryzen’s support for PCI Express 4 also means that you can benefit from the fastest solid-state drives on the market. You can’t have that with an Intel. So, if you want to futureproof your computer, you’d be better prepared with an AMD Ryzen 3000 or 5000 processor than with a 10th Gen Intel Core.
AMD is also in a better spot when it comes to the type of supported RAM. Zen 3 and Zen 2 Ryzens natively support DDR4 RAM running at 3200 MHz in dual-channel. Intel’s 10th Gen Core CPUs only go as far as DDR4 at 2933 MHz in dual-channel. That’s another win for AMD.
On the other hand, many Intel Core processors also have integrated graphics chips, while most desktop AMD Ryzens don’t. That can be handy in some computer configurations built for office work, for example.
Finally, one of the most important questions on anyone’s lips is probably which processors offer a better price per value? The thing is, although, for regular daily work, both AMD and Intel processors are excellent choices, entry-level and mainstream AMD Zen 2 processors usually have lower prices than Intel’s. And, if what you are looking for is performance, the AMD Ryzen 5000 processors are better and faster than Intel’s 10th Gen Core CPUs, even if their prices are comparable.
If you plan on building an office computer, many Intel processors also come with built-in graphics, so, in the end, they may be a cheaper alternative. On the other hand, many of AMD’s older Zen 2 processors, which are still more potent than Intel’s 10th Gen CPUs, come with bundled stock coolers. That may make them more attractive, even if they don’t have integrated graphics chips. So, if you want to build a computer for office work, neither AMD nor Intel is better.
When it comes to productivity, both Zen 2 and Zen 3 AMD CPUs are definitely a much better choice in terms of price per value. The mainstream Ryzen 7 and the high-end Ryzen 9 processors offer more cores and threads than similarly priced Intel CPUs, lower TDPs, and other goodies, such as PCIe 4.0 support, faster RAM support, and more cache memory. The conclusion: for productivity and multithreaded applications, we’d say go with an AMD Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9. They offer better value for money than Intel’s options.
If you’d like to compare the lineups of 2021’s Intel and AMD equivalents, check the following CPU comparison table. We tried to cover all the essential details of both companies’ current desktop processors, including prices, hoping to help you make an informed decision.
Finally, for gaming, things used to be a bit mixed up: Intel’s 10th Gen processors single-core performance is excellent and, sometimes, a bit higher than what you get from AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processors. However, the Ryzen 5000 processors match Intel’s single-core high frequencies, while also delivering better multi-thread performance.
Considering that, in the same price range, AMD’s and Intel’s processors have similar single-core performance, but AMD Ryzens also have more and up to double the number of cores, we say go with AMD. An increasing number of games can benefit from multi-threading, so having more cores is undoubtedly the right choice for the future.
In our opinion, these are the essential things that differentiate AMD’s Ryzen processors from Intel’s 10th Gen Core processors. Which ones do you like more, and why? Regardless of where your brand loyalty sits, which company do you think makes the best desktop processors these days? AMD or Intel? Use the comments section below to get in touch with us and let us know what you think.